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Sole of the Warriors: Ian Clark
by Julie Phayer
On a team where three players have their own signature shoe, who would guess that an undrafted guard from Belmont would be the biggest sneaker guy on the team? Well, if you follow Ian Clark on IG this comes as no surprise. Whether it’s on the court, the team plane, walking into the arena, or out and about, Ian’s always got some fire on his feet. He dishes on the inspiration for his collection, the story behind his shoe plane photos, his go-to pairs, and more.
First pair of sneakers?
It started when I was a kid. My aunt used to buy me Jordans when I was really young. She would come and surprise me on my birthday or things like that. I think my first pair of Jordans was in the fourth grade or fifth grade. I can’t remember. My dad bought them for me and they were white and gold. They were trainers at the time. They came with, like, shoe cleaner and everything. I had the whole shebang. I was taking care of them faithfully, making sure they didn’t get dirty. I didn’t want to wear them a lot but I had them in my house to just look at them.
From then on, I just liked shoes. Also, being able to play professional basketball you start getting shoes through the team and things like that. So, I started to see different things that I like and started to wear them.
Do you still have that [first] pair?
No, I don’t. It was a long time ago. I haven’t even seen them come back out.
Are there any pairs you wanted as a kid that you still don't have?
Mostly Jordans. I usually go after shoes that I couldn’t get as a kid, instead of ones that just came out. There’s actually one pair I saw this weekend - the Jordan 12 "Flint Grey". I wanted them bad because I had been looking for those. So, probably those and the Jordan 17 "Lightning". Those are the only two shoes that I’ve been looking for that I haven’t got yet. Other than that, I think I’ve mostly got everything that I wanted.
How do you organize your shoe collection?
I have two closets at my house. One of them is strictly shoes and jackets. I just use it to hang the jackets and the shoes are just stacked on top of each other. Then in my personal closet still has shoes everywhere, but it’s mostly clothes.
I have a lot of shoes back home that I didn’t bring with me [when I moved here]. My dad, he handles those when I’m not home, which I don’t mind at all. My brother and I are close to the same size, so usually I'll either get two pairs that I like and give him some or if its shoes I haven’t worn and I know he would like them, I'll give them to him because I know they’ll just sit in my closet. One thing I try to do, especially when we’re going out somewhere, is find something that I haven’t worn in a while to keep them fresh in my mind or I'll forget about them.
Any pairs you could wear on court that would make Twitter go crazy?
I’ve had a couple this year actually. Especially getting compliments from Andre… I’ve been to his house. I’ve been in both KD and Andre’s houses and they have a lot of shoes. Andre has been around this league for a long time, he has a lot of shoes — especially Jordans that are coming back out, but he has original pairs. He’ll bring them out here and there and I’m like "whoa." I got a couple throughout the year that a few of the guys have said something to me about. It feels kind of good coming from them. I don’t do it for anybody but myself, I just like shoes.
Do you have a stylist?
I don't. I just kind of put it together myself. When I’m getting dressed for games and stuff I usually start from the bottom up. So, I’ll start what shoe I want to wear and I’ll go from there. I don’t buy a lot of clothes, I’m usually in sweats. I try to dress up for the games. If I see something that I know I have a pair of shoes will match then I’ll get that shirt, or jacket. Just to compliment the shoes.
Go-to pair for off the court?
Hanging out on weekend I’m usually in Air Max. Other than Jordans I usually wear Air Max. I love them. I love how they feel. Air Max 97s are probably my favorite. I like the Air Max 95s too, I have a lot of pairs of those. I usually wear the Air Max Plus or the 97s. If I’m really getting comfy, if I’m not wearing any socks, I put on Prestos. Those are comfortable to me. I try not to wear a lot of Jordans when I’m walking around, hanging out or on an off day.
I’ve noticed you’ve been wearing a lot of Jordan 4s lately.
Yeah. Lately, I’ve been coming up with a lot of those. They’re probably my favorite, just because of how they feel on my feet, plus they have a large variety of colors. So, I’ve got a pair that I’m probably gonna wear to Game 1. I’ve been saving them for a while now. I recently found them in my size maybe about a month and a half ago, but I haven’t worn them yet. I’ve been saving them.
Do you have a go-to pair for a big game?
It’s more whatever I’m comfortable with at the time. I felt comfortable with the Zoom KD 9s at the beginning of the year, then when the PG 1s came out I rocked with those for a little while. Then the Zoom KD 10s came out. I like how those feel on my feet so I’ll probably stick with those for the rest of the summer.
For in-game you’ve been wearing a lot of KDs and PG 1s lately.
Yeah, Zoom KD 9s. Actually, my first games in the league I was wearing Kobes. A lot. I think last year they felt a little different. I got some ankle problems, so I kind of switched it up with the shoes I was wearing. So I went back to the Hyperdunks. I started wearing those and they felt good on my feet throughout the playoffs and stuff like that.
This year is actually my first year wearing KDs. So, it felt good. I like the colorways they have. The PG 1s felt good as well. I’m trying to wear both of those right now.
Do you remember what pair you were wearing when you had your best game of the season so far?
Yes. It was in San Antonio. I wore the Hyperdunk ’08 “Triple Black”. I actually recently found those during the season. I can’t remember what city we were in, but I found them. I actually like those a lot because I played in them in AAU. Maybe my last year of AAU, we played in Florida at the Nationals and they gave us a pair. They were really light. One of my favorite pairs of shoes to play in.
What’s the story behind all the shoe pictures on the plane?
Oh B-Rush and I started that last year. I did it a couple times just because I like to put my feet up, to be honest. I really wasn’t going by the shoes. We would get out of practice and be on a road trip somewhere and I’d just want to recline and put my feet up, and stretch my legs out. He and I started doing that, and then after it became kind of a religious thing where I would always do it. So I started doing that, and then B-Rush would do it a little bit, and he actually did it while he was in Minnesota. So, people would kind of laugh and JaVale and the guys would try to make fun of it, but it was cool. I still do it.
If you could have any of your teammate's shoe collection, who would it be?
Andre, for sure.
Top 5 pairs everyone should have in their collection?
Let’s see... I think everybody should have a pair of Jordan 1s. It’s hard to say what color. I have the "Top 3", which are my favorite at the moment right now, but I would say any pair of retro Jordan 1s.
A pair of Jordan 4s, for sure. I think everybody should have a pair just cause I like how they fit on your feet.
A pair of Air Max 95. Classic.
Air Max 97, personally. I feel like at least you need to have both of those.
A pair of Jordan 12s. My personal favorite for the games, but those are a must. Everything else can trickle in, but those are a must.